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Apr 3, 2007 01:07 PM

achiote seasoning

According to Rick Bayless, I can find this stuff at any grocery store. Has anyone seen it at any major chains like stop n shop or shaws? Or do I have to go to a latin grocer for it? I am looking in particular for a brand called "El Yucateco"


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  1. Achiote is easy to find in any supermarket with a small Latin foods section. I don't know about that brand, but Goya is everywhere. I got mine at my local Foodies Urban Market in the South End. I think it's more for color than flavor, anyway, so I wonder if the brand matters much.

    On further review, however, El Yucateco makes an achiote paste which is different from just annatto seeds: it contains other spices and tomatoes, too. I can't say I've seen that stuff.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      yeah, I figured goya would have it and that I'd find that brand at shaw's...but I wanted this brand because it was suggested in a recipe.

      thank you for the suggestion though

    2. Achiote seasoning paste is different from ground anatto. I just checked what brand I have, and it's Marin. The ingredient list includes ground annato seed, salt, garlic, oregano, vinegar, and spices. I'm pretty sure that I found it in one of the supermarkets with a Latin food section, as MC says.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Rubee

        yeah I figured it would have different ingredients in it, since it is the major seasoning component in cochinita pibil (which is what I'm using it for). Since it's the main component, I wanted to pick a good brand and el yucateco is the only one I know of

        1. re: bitsubeats

          I think you should be able to find El Yucateco at a supermarket that has a lot of Latin customers. I know that I buy the hot sauces (the red and the habanero - good stuff!) locally. Not recently though, so I'm sorry I can't be more specific on where I picked them up. Marin brand is good too.

          PS - BTW, Bayless also has a recipe for making achiote in "Mexican Kitchen" - mixing the ground seeds with allspice, black pepper, oregano, cider vinegar, garlic, and salt that is very good. If you decide to go this route and need the exact measurements, let me know.

      2. The urban myth that achiote only supplies color is unfair. It has a subtle, absolutely unique flavor recognizable in the three Mayan pibil preparations of fish, chicken, and pork. Chew a few seeds and you will see.
        Badia, among others brands cited above, sells annato seed that needs just a little work in the molcajete.
        I usually include very thin slices of baby onion, thin slices of sweet chiles, and thin slices of lime, when I fold up the banana leaf. And keep an anejo rum or reposado tequila handy while it bakes or steams!

        1. I would try tropical foods on Washington Street. They have quite a variety. I do not recall seeing that brand in Shaw's but I have seen in at the South Bay Stop & Shop quite some time ago. You can also order it online at

          1. update: I went to la international (sp?) grocery in somerville yesterday (I was very surprised they were open) and couldn't find any achiote seasoning. I found all the ingredients to make it from scratch....but I would rather buy it already made. They did have a lot of interesting ingredients and because of someone's suggestion I did buy the el yucateco hot sauce - very hot.

            So I'm still looking for the stuff and I got a suggestion from someone in class today that I should go to market basket.

            Does anyone else have any other suggestions? how about gol in somerville?

            1 Reply
            1. re: bitsubeats

              Although achiote is used in Brazilian cooking (called various names including urucu, corante, or even colorau which can also mean paprika), you would be more likely to find sazon with achiote than paste at Gol.

              I haven't seen it at the Somerville Market Basket, although a slightly better bet than Gol and they do have the whole seeds. There also is Tony's Foodland on lower Broadway which carries some latino products that La Internacional does not. (And other latino markets on Columbia/Harvard in Cambridge, and Medford St with Magoon Sq in Somerville.) However, if you are going to drive around hunting, I might suggest the Market Basket in Chelsea which has more central american products than Somerville.